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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stupid Technology

Lost last night's recap somehow, so I am going to make this short and sweet.
Rented a car for the day to drive to Muir Woods.  JJ navigated the city like a pro.  The road to Muir Woods was mildly terrifying with the twists and turns and thick fog.  I thought we might fall off the edge of the earth. Boo really struggled with car sickness.

Got there early enough that we were in the second parking lot easily.  By the time we left 3 1/2 hours later, people were parked a mile down the road.  It was a lovely hike.  Very few bugs.  Lots and lots of hills.  Oh, and coastal redwoods.  Did you know that they get 25-50% of their water from the fog?
Oh, wait, I am making this short and sweet.


Had lunch at Fred's Diner in Sausalito.  JJ had their deep fried French toast and millionaire's bacon.  Yeah.  It was pretty darn good.



Tried to walk the Golden Gate Bridge from the north side, but couldn't figure out how to get to it. I'm ok with it.  This photo was worth the dead-end.

So we headed back south and miraculously got a parking space in the second lot on the San Francisco side. We walked about 1/3 of the way across the bridge before the kids had enough.  I won't lie to you, between the crowds, the wind and the rumble of traffic, my knees were a little weak.  Looking down didn't bother me.  Looking up took an act of sheer will, and a wide stance.





After the bridge, we decided to go looking for the Mythbusters studio.  They don't give tours (pouty face) but at least we can say we saw where it is. It is so much smaller than I expected!  Nothing fancy.


We returned the rental car, hopped the California Cable Car line (so much less crowded than the other lines) down to Market Street and then walked back to the hotel.

One more day.  Everyone is a little sad about it.


Monday, July 29, 2013

There's no hills in Illinois

I hope you pronounced the "s" in Illinois, because that's how I meant for it to be read.
We slept in this morning.  We are getting used to the time difference, which will suck when we head back home.
Had breakfast at Sam's.  I think they will start to consider us regulars before the week is out.  It's convenient and the food is great.
Hopped on the F Line trolley to start today's adventure: climbing to Coit Tower.  We weren't exactly sure where the stairs were, but when we came across a sign that read, "Stairs to Coit Tower," we figured we were on the right path.

And stairs, they are.  And they have a name:  The Filbert Steps.  It's something like 397 stairs to the top.  It is beautiful, but holy hell, it's a workout. I stopped several times to catch my bre-, I mean take some photos.  I cannot believe that people live on that hill.  Where do they put out their garbage?  Do they have to drag it up and down those stairs? No garbage truck is getting anywhere near those houses.

We decided not to go up in the tower itself. The line was long and we had another hill to climb, so
we went back down the other side.  It was less scenic, but a workout in itself as we had to put on the brakes.
The next hill we climbed was Lombard Street, as we made our way up to the World's Crookedest Street.  No stairs, just a near 30% grade.  I didn't dare turn around for fear I would topple over backwards.  For reals.  For this photo, I turned the virtual horizon on the make sure I was holding it flat.



The Crooked Street is a sight to behold.  It is beautifully landscaped, but again, people actually LIVE on this thing.  I can't imagine the headache that comes along with the constant stream of tourists driving down your road daily at 5 mph. We climbed to the top, along the convenient stairs, and I took a photo looking back at Coit.  Photos don't do it justice, but it was one hell of a 1-mile walk.

We hopped on a cable car and, much to the kids' dismay, stopped at the free Cable Car Museum.  The cable cars are so awesome.  You can actually see the workings of the cables.  It is amazing.  After we left there, I paid more attention and realized that you can hear the cables running underground.

After the Cable Car Museum, we walked through China Town.  It was one of those things that I wanted to be able to say we did.  We purchased such typical Chinese things as a fan, a bottle of water and a Gatorade.  

We wrapped up the day with some shopping.  JJ needed a hat to cover his poor sunburned head.  KJ took advantage of the buy one, get one half-off to get himself a flat bill Raiders hat.  These two have serious street cred.  Boo and I hit Pandora and an awesome stationery store.  

After four days, I can now distinctly discern the scent of homeless person and pot.  It took me until I was nearly 40 years old to figure the second one out.  Pretty sad, huh?
Time to get a good night's sleep.  Tomorrow's adventure is renting a car and actually driving in the city.  

Here Comes the Sun

In other words, crap, I forgot the sunscreen.


Day three.  Baseball game.  Slept in and tried to go to Dottie's True Blue Diner for breakfast (a "Diners Drive-Ins and Dives" selection.). The line was out the door and around the block, so we hiked back and had breakfast at the same place we had dinner last night: Sam's Diner.  It was yum.  
As we walked back, we walked through a fantastic Farmer's Market and what appeared to be a Farmer's Market of sort for the homeless.  It was a lot to take in.  I'm still processing.

After breakfast, we hopped on a MUNI train out to the ballpark.  I am slowly overcoming my fear of public transportation.  I can read the route maps and it only took me a few minutes to figure out that the stop on the map with the picture of a baseball was AT&T Park.  I'm super smart.

The park was beautiful and our seats were fantastic.  

I am so glad that we splurged.  The kids were able to stand right at the edge of the field and watch warm-ups. Their patience totally paid off and they each got a warm-up baseball.  I was so excited for them that I could have cried.

The game was good, the sun was warm and I have to say that San Franciscans are incredibly friendly. We made friends with all of the people around us and the lady in front of me even offered me some sun screen.  That made it easier to get over the fact that her husband was sticking his furry arms into Boo's Coke.



Cubs won and I got to see my favorite pitcher, Big Time Timmy Jim Lincecum.  He had two hits.  It was crazy,
Oh, for a snack, we had garlic fries, which are supposed to be one of those things that you eat at AT&T Park.  They were really good.  Later on, at dinner, we accidentally ended up with another order of garlic fries.  They were strong and not so yummy.  They made my stomach hurt.  
These were the good ones. 

Also, there were several completely adorable little old ladies who were huge Giants fans.  When I am old, I am going to have a hat like this to wear to baseball games.  

On the trolley back home from Pier 39, we talked to an English family.  Later, Boo told me that she felt like she was in Harry Potter, which is exactly what I was thinking but didn't want to say.  I want to start using the word "brilliant" more.
And on that note, I am freaking tired, as usual.
And I smell.
Like garlic.  
Vampires beware.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ain't no sunshine

Got up just after six to get ready for our trip to Alcatraz.  




Loved it.  Not sure how much I can express just how amazing it was.  It's sure ominous (seriously creepy) from far away, but wasn't nearly so foreboding once we were on the rock.  


We spent FOUR hours there.  We took a walking tour with one of the rangers, during which he explained about the escape attempts.  The self-guided cell block tour was fantastic, except for the fact that if the four of us didn't have our players in sync, it was challenging.  And it was crowded, but that's to be expected.  
We found this one hallway with amazing lighting and colors.  It was only a little creepy.



After Alcatraz, we headed back to Pier 39 for pizza and shopping.  Boo got a new pair of Toms (I decided that I am totally not cool enough for those ugly things.) KJ got a new Raiders t-shirt and is loving the fact that he gets lots of love out here for his Raiders gear.  I got a new sweatshirt since I got crapped on at Alcatraz (it was a big old crap, so no scrubbing it out in the restroom.)
We wandered along Fisherman's Wharf and decided to head to the Cable Car stop.  We knew it would be busy, but had no idea it was going to be a 90 minute wait.  The two Ks weren't exactly excited, but we toughed it out.
And it was freaking awesome.
KJ,JJ and I all got to hang off the sides.  


Boo got to sit, which was for the best because she was freezing.  Holy balls of fire, what a crazy experience with the hills and the cable cars coming at you from the other direction, with just inches to spare.  It was totally worth the 80 minute wait, at least for me.  But then again, I am like a small child, so maybe you shouldn't take my word for it.



I am so glad that I don't smell like homeless man tonight, but I do fear that I smell like bird crap.
And on that note, I am about to crash right here on my iPad.
So. 
Very.  
Tired. 
By the way, two days and no sun.  I'm not complaining, just stating a fact.  But I really hope that I get to see the entire bridge before we leave. 


Saturday, July 27, 2013

I forgot the flower in my hair


Day One in San Francisco.
Got up at 5:45 (yay!) and managed to be on the road with McDonald's breakfast at 7:18.  Got to O'Hare, parked in the economy lot after an ill-fated attempt to hang with the taxis and two not-illegal U-turns.  
Had lunch at the food court and got to the gate with plenty of time to spare.  The flight was uneventful, barring the little girl in front of us who was constantly turning around and staring at us and offering us gummi bears.
Landed, got the luggage and hopped on BART to the hotel.  KJ was rather unsure after watching a story about someone being killed by a police officer on a BART train, but we assured him that we would be ok.  
Met Mr. Lee, got some good info on how to travel around the city and took an awesome trolley out to Pier 39.  

Had dinner outside (we midwesterners can handle the cold) with the birds and wandered the Pier. I was fascinated to see the number of people in winter clothes.  It was 59 degrees at dinner time. 

Boo and I were shoe shopping when we heard the sea lions barking.  We went running to go see them.  They are so cute.

The trolley ride home was more interesting.  We were packed to the gills and the kids got their first taste of homelessness and mental illness.  The man on the trolley was harmless and had a great conversation with himself.
It's 12:09 am here, 10:09 PM at home and we are all done. Put a fork in us. Good night. 
Also, I am tired. And I think I smell like homeless man.
Yep, tired. 
And we bought some salt water taffy. We needed the energy. 
Really, I am done. Good night.